Tuesday, July 5, 2011

RV: My life, not the movie

I recently watched the Robin Williams movie about taking his family on vacation in an RV.  I got a kick out of his black tank issues and running into things.  I know all about the learning curve (I’m still traveling it).  But packing up, knowing what to pack up and what to leave behind, and setting up/breaking down camp present a whole new set of dilemmas.  I remember camping in tents as kids with all my family, but I don’t remember anything about setting up camp or taking it down.  I do remember my brothers taking the pot out to an island by boat to dump every morning.   But all that aside, it’s different in an rv.  Brenda had some experiences as a child camping in a truck camper with her parents when she was small, but again that’s different from an rv and different from my tent experiences.  But we do each try to bring out own experiences to the road to make things easier.  Too bad that doesn’t always work.

I think we have each done well at limiting what we bring on the trip with us.  Of course, I toured most of Southeast Asia with a small suitcase and a backpack and 3 weeks out west with just a backpack.  Brenda is a little more high maintenance but she has simplified a lot.  She is buying into my theory that anything we forgot and really need can be bought on the road so the most important thing to pack is your credit card.  We have been to a lot of Walmarts in this country!

Setting up has been simplified by Brenda the list maker.  And since I can jump out and do the outside hook ups much quicker than her (at least until she gets that knee fixed) I generally hook up the electric/water/sewer while she sets things up inside.  Then on checking out days she puts things away inside while I take care of the outside.  It usually runs smoothly – usually.  One time we were rushed leaving a state park to get back to Nashville so I just went to a local KOA to use their dump tanks.  First of all, I hate being rushed, and secondly, I hate paying someone for something I could have done for free.  So I was distracted and not following standard procedure and well, while I didn’t have as big a fiasco as Robin Williams did while emptying the black tank, let’s just say that I am EXTREMELY careful about closing the black and gray tank valves BEFORE opening the main line.  So what could go wrong with setting up?

Well, try plugging in to the electric but forgetting to flip the breaker and then spending an hour messing around with the fuse box before it dawns on you that maybe you didn’t flip the breaker.  Duhhhhh!  Or the more recent hilarious (hey, it wasn’t me on the firing line so I thought it was funny) experience of the spitting toilet.  I hooked up the water line outside so Brenda decided to fill the toilet and add the packet that helps keep the tank “fresh”, however she had forgotten to open the faucet a little first to relieve the pressure on the line.  When she stepped on the water pedal to fill the toilet she was assaulted by the vicious spitting rv toilet.  Bet she never does that again.

My kitchen has a gas stove which Brenda has experience with from her camping days.  I am trying to learn to use it while Brenda is still the pro there.  On the other hand, we always cooked on a campfire so I have been able to amaze her with my cooking skills in the outdoors (with a big thanks to Jengoround for her Vaseline cotton balls firestarters).  Brenda keeps saying that one day she plans to bake something in the propane oven.  Not that I doubt she can do it, but I just keep remembering that spitting toilet…..

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